Film sparks discussion of children’s lit at Askwith Forum

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The value of children’s literature in our society was examined by a panel of experts ― including creators of the new documentary Library of the Early Mind and several prominent children’s book authors ― at the Askwith Forum on Oct. 21.

“People read books when they are kids, then read the books to their kids but have given up on the idea that children’s books are important for the average person,” said Steven Withrow, co-producer of the film.

Library of the Early Mind, directed and co-produced by Withrow and Edward Delaney, examines the power of children’s literature through the eyes of authors who create it and highlights the stories behind many popular books including Hannah Has Two Mommies, Rotten Ralph, and Imogene’s Antlers. Following a screening of the film, Delaney and Withrow were joined by children’s book authors and illustrators Lois Lowry, Lesléa Newman, Jerry Pinkney, and Padma Venkatraman, and children’s book editor Roger Sutton to reflect on the film and children’s literature today.

The panelists, who are also featured in the film, said they were moved by the film’s ability to capture both the essence of writing such books and the impact of reading them.